XP RAID 5 Missing Data after OS Crash
I installed and configured XP Software RAID 5 using the Hex edit techniques described elsewhere on this site. But my OS crashed and now I can't seem to recover my RAID array from my newly installed OS. The RAID 5 array is composed of 4 500 GB SATA drives, and my OS is on a separate IDE drive. This was all working fine for 2 years. After my OS crashed, I needed to reformat my IDE drive with the OS, and reinstall XP SP2 again. The 4 SATA drives now showed up as 4 Basic, unpartitioned disks in Disk manager. I reapplied the XP RAID Hex edits again on the new OS files, changed the disk type from Basic to dynamic for all 4 SATA disks, and now RAID 5 was now an option again for these drives. I right mouse clicked on one of the drives, choose RAID 5, and selected all 4 disk. I did not select to format the drive, and then clicked to proceed. The drives in the array showed as "Regenerating" for about 16 hours, and now show up as "Healthy" I thought I'd be all set at this point, but explorer lists the drive as unformatted, and has no data. Did I do something wrong? Is there a way for me to retreive my data at this point?
You corrupted your data during the "Renegerating" procedure, while you could have saved your data with no dataloss, if you had used software RAID recovery under Linux/BSD.
Probably a different disk order or stripesize was used when you re-created the RAID5, and the rebuild that followed ("Renegerating") wrote faulty data to places containing your good data. This destroyed your data and there is likely no chance left for recovery.
Please do not use Software RAID under Windows, its support is poor at best and risky for consumers without in-depth technical knowledge about RAID to know what can really kill your data. Perhaps you should look at some alternatives like Linux, BSD or FreeNAS. The last one is really easy to setup (via a web interface) and now also has ZFS support, and regular RAID5 support. However, it does imply the computer is dedicated to storing data and serving it via the network.